Blog :: 04-2016

Condo fees, really?

From high rises like Midtown at Reston Town Center to garden-style communities like ParcReston to townhomes like Ivy Oak, many of Reston's amazing neighborhoods are condo associations. And that means condo fees... often in addition the Reston Association fees.

One of the most common questions I get when showing condos is what the fees are actually for. This is a great question because when you know how the fees are used, and then you can decide if you believe the monthly condo fee fits into your budget and needs.

Condo fees fund two categories: operating expense and reserve funds. The operating expenses are the monthly costs required for trash, grounds maintenance, and snow removal, administration and condo management. The reserve funds represent the anticipated cost of replacing and repairing common elements of the property like roofs, sidewalks, and elevators. All of these costs are estimated and used as the basis for the monthly condo fee.

For the reserve fund, the condo association must do a study every five years to estimate how much money is needed to repair, replacement and restoring the capital components of the property. Every year condominiums (in Virginia) are required to review their study results and confirm that they are reserving enough money for these items. Sometimes, they find they aren't because something unexpected happened.

So, what does that mean for you, they buyer? You need to study the condo resale package, which includes the condominium bylaws, rules and regulations, current financial reports, and audited financial reports. Review these carefully with an eye toward spotting potential problems. Questions to ask should include:

  • What do the audited financial statements say about the reserve funds? Are they adequate?
  • What major projects/repairs are anticipated for the upcoming year?
  • What projects were completed in the prior year?

Another thing to consider is what type of condo environment are you looking at? Is there a Doorman, a Concierge? If there is, you will pay higher condo fees for that amenity.

Many of my clients choose condo living simply because they are not responsible for the exterior maintenance -- at not responsible beyond paying their condo fee. If you are one of the thousands of busy professionals that live in Reston, the time you save managing or doing those tasks is well worth the fee itself. 

Spring Fun in Reston

Spring is in the air…finally. True, the weather may decide to turn again. But that won’t keep Restonians inside. It is time to get out and take advantage of all the fun activities happening around town. Here is a run down of what is on the immediate horizon in our neighborhood.

 

Reston Town Center

http://www.restontowncenter.com/events/all/

Want to get out and experience live music? You can every week — Thursdays at Tavern 64 and Friday’s at M&S Grill. On May 7, bring your dog out to the Pet Fiesta. It’s your chance to meet some great adoptable dogs, find fun dog-themed things you must have or just hang out with fun people.

May 21 and 22 is the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival — one of my favorite events every year. There are more than 200 artists from across the Nation that come out to share their work, and they are all amazing (this is a juried festival, so they have to be good). In addition to the art, you can enjoy two days of live performances, acclaimed children’s activities, and more. $5 donation encouraged. Get tickets for the Friday night Festival Launch Party at GRACE.

Finally, Reston Concerts on the Town start June 4 and go through the summer on Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m.

Lake Anne Village Center

https://lakeanneplaza.com/calendar/2016/05/

Are you ready for the premier farmer’s market in Northern Virginia? What about the Reston Arts Market? It’s time. Starting May 7, the markets will be opens. Come on down every Saturday through November. And starting on May 19, you rent a paddleboat to explore Lake Anne.

Lake Fairfax Park

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/lakefairfax/

There is always a lot to do at Lake Fairfax Park, but I really had to mention Pirate Fest on April 16. I mean, it’s a PIRATE FESTIVAL. How fun is that? Pirate Fest is Saturday, April 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This festival celebrates Virginia's seafaring past. Join with Pyrates Royale singing traditional sea chanteys, tavern tunes and pirate ditties. Experience the life of a sailor first hand with our many fun activity stations. Wear your most dashing pirate clothes and enter our costume contest. Learn about global trade in the 18th century, and discover the luxury goods from international ports that compelled pirates to sail the seven seas.

This is just a small taste of what will be happening around town in April and May. Have fun!

Pinecrest Cluster, South Reston

I’ve lived in Reston for years, and I’m still surprised sometimes when I come across a charming townhome community that is new to me. Pinecrest Cluster is one of those places. It’s a little off the beaten track, which is perfect for anyone who wants to access to the bustle of Reston without being in the middle of it. The best part of this community for young families is how affordable it is—these homes offer so much to young families starting out and some of the lowest prices in Reston.

Located off Glade Drive, near Dogwood in South Reston, Pinecrest Cluster is a diverse community of 220 townhouses. Built in 1973, these wood-sided homes have two or three bedrooms, and most are three-levels. Most of the units have been remodeled, and feature large windows and an open, airy feel. And each unit has access to two assigned parking spaces (which is not always the case with home built in the 1970s).

Great news for young families: the cluster recently installed a new, state-of-the-art tot lot—which is sure to become THE gathering place for families in the nice weather. Dogwood Pool is close by; another great feature for young families. Like most communities in Reston, the common areas are well maintained, and wooded areas make you feel like you live in the forest.

Pinecrest Cluster is just off Reston Parkway, a few short miles for Reston Town Center, Hunters Woods Village Center, and the Dulles Toll Road.